Clara Parkes

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Clara Parkes
Alma materMills College
Known forTextiles

Clara Parkes is an American author, yarn critic, and wool expert.[1][2] Parkes has been described as "quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting."[3]


Parkes was taught to knit aged eight, by her grandmother.[4] After graduating from Mills College, Parkes began her career in high tech publishing in San Francisco before moving to Maine and launching her online magazine Knitter's Review in 2000.[4][5] In 2012 she purchased a 676 lb. bale of American Merino wool and began a crowd-funded project known as The Great White Bale, in which she chronicled the process of turning the raw wool into finished yarn.[6] This project led to the creation of her own small-batch yarn company, Clara Yarn.[7] She is a Certified Level 1 Wool Classer, and a member of the American Sheep Industry Association.[8]

Parkes appeared in the Yarn Spotlight segment on the 9th, 10th, and 11th seasons of Knitting Daily TV, a television show produced by Interweave Press for PBS.[9]

In March 2020, Parkes launched The Daily Respite, a brief daily general-interest newsletter via the Substack platform.[10] Her current undertaking is The Wool Channel, a multimedia effort to raise awareness and appreciation of wool. The Wool Channel outlets include a free newsletter and YouTube channel; paid members also have access to a long-form newsletter, a community app, and video content.[11]

Knitter's Review[edit]

In 2000 Parkes founded Knitter's Review, a knitting review website which became a major social media resource for knitters before the advent of Ravelry.[4] Using her experience creating the website Tech Shopper and technology acquired from the Quilter's Review,[12] she began to publish product reviews, a weekly newsletter, and created an interactive user forum. At its peak, the Knitter's Review Forums had over 70,000 members.[4][13] For several years Knitter's Review sponsored a fundraising drive for Heifer International, raising in excess of $47,000.[14] In 2002 members of the forums created a small, in-person gathering that grew into a larger annual event known as the Knitter's Review Retreat.[15] By the time of the final Knitter's Review Retreat in 2015 it had become known as a "bucket list" item for knitters.[16] In 2015 she retired the old Knitter's Review site and forums, although many of her reviews and articles are still available at the site.[17]


Parkes is the author of seven books: the trilogy The Knitter's Book of...; the memoir The Yarn Whisperer, the travel memoir Knitlandia, and Vanishing Fleece, which chronicles her experience as a yarn producer. In addition, she edited the collection of essays A Stash of One's Own.

Her travel memoir Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for travel books in 2016.[18]

She edited the anthology A Stash of One's Own: Knitters on Loving, Living with, and Letting go of Yarn, a collection of essays by knitting experts including Meg Swansen, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and Debbie Stoller. It was named one of the top 10 lifestyle books for fall 2017 by Publishers Weekly.[19]

She is the narrator of the audiobooks The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting, Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, and Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool.

Personal life[edit]

Parkes lives in Portland, Maine.[4]


  • The Knitter's Book of Yarn. Potter Craft Books. 2007. ISBN 9780307352163
  • The Knitter's Book of Wool. Potter Craft Books. 2009. ISBN 9780307586995
  • The Knitter's Book of Socks. Potter Craft Books. 2011. ISBN 9780307586803
  • The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting. Stewart Tabori & Chang. 2013. ISBN 9781617690020
  • Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World. Stewart Tabori & Chang. 2016. ISBN 9781617691904
  • Parkes, Clara ed. (2017) A Stash of One's Own: Knitters on Loving, Living with, and Letting Go of Yarn. Abrams Press. ISBN 978-1419727047
  • Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool. Abrams Press. October 2019 ISBN 9781419735318


  1. ^ Timmons, Heather. "China's latest genetic engineering experiment is a flock of sheep no one wants". Quartz. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  2. ^ Nassauer, Sarah (January 7, 2019). "Fiber Optics: Wool Lovers Battle Animal-Rights Crowd Over Sheep Shearing". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Mooney, Mary (June 16, 2013). "Book review". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Krementz, Cheryl (2007). "Chatting with Knitting's New Guard". Vogue Knitting (Fall): 86–103.
  5. ^ Blumenstock, Kathy (February 8, 2016). "The Story of a 'Yarn Evangelist' Who Traveled in Search of Her Congregation". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "Clara Yarn from Clara Parkes". Interweave Knits: 10. Fall 2014.
  7. ^ Singer, Amy (May 2017). "Scarce By Design" (PDF). Yarn Market News: 34.
  8. ^ Korkzan, Shireen (December 24, 2018). "'Shop local' movement drives sales of American-made yarn". AP NEWS. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Yarn Expert Clara Parkes Joins Knitting Daily TV!". Interweave. May 7, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  10. ^ "The 80 Best Single-Operator Newsletters on the Internet". InsideHook. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  11. ^ Pohlig, Molly (2021–2022). "Channel Your Knowledge: Clara Parkes, The Wool Channel". Vogue Knitting. Winter 21/22: 22.
  12. ^ "Clara Parkes, the Yarn Seer". Interweave. July 18, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Special Report: Online-Only Publishers". Folio. April 30, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Rubbing Elbows with the Knitterati: An Interview with Clara Parkes | Heifer International | Charity Ending Hunger And Poverty". Rubbing Elbows with the Knitterati: An Interview with Clara Parkes | Heifer International | Charity Ending Hunger And Poverty. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  15. ^ Martini, Adrienne, 1971– (2010). Sweater quest : my year of knitting dangerously (1st Free Press trade paperback ed.). New York: Free Press. ISBN 9781416597643. OCLC 424555373.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Steege, Gwen (2011). The Knitter's Life List. US: Storey Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1603429962.
  17. ^ "Home". Knitter's Review. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Travel Books – Best Sellers – March 13, 2016 – The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  19. ^ "Fall 2017 Announcements: Lifestyle". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 7, 2019.